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So...yeah. I've barely been on or replying these past two months. There are technical reasons, and outside reasons. This year and last year have just been hectic, and I've needed to take things a lot more seriously when it comes to studying and doing out-of-college work. That and I'm just incredibly tired at the moment. Even if I had full access to internet I doubt I'd be uploaded much images; I've not found the motivation to work on anything and the reason I keep Lifeforce going so much is that I promised myself I wouldn't give up on the story. So yeah, those are the only things you'll be seeing from me.

Sounds a bit like a downer, I know, but I'm not a celebrity here and people have their own stuff to get on with, so I doubt my absence is tear-jerking. Just letting those who are watching out for things that they'll come, but they'll come slow.

So yeah, sorry for not being on, but I'll do my best to get Lifeforce finished for those reading. Sorry for the lack of art.
And I'm...admin of two groups. I have no idea how they work, so If there are duties I have been ignoring, I'm terribly sorry for being clueless.

:iconlaplz: 

:iconidontthinksobetchplz:

:iconthefonzplz: :icongoofygrinplz:

Ratchet and Clank Stamp by Ben-Anderson
.:Ratchet and Clank stamp 4:. by dannyphantom300
Land before time stamp by Sony-ShockStamp: Bravestarr by Gatekat Cragmite OC Support by WolfzenStamp - Dallas and Juanita by Lurking-Leanne
Cragmite Empire Stamp by HlTLER
Aaaahhh What by MiharuWatanabeI love ReBoot by thebadkittyCrash Bandicoot stamp by RobinBaxterButt


Dr. N. Tropy Stamp by xSweetSlayerxSly 4 stamp~ The Ancestors by SeeraphineClassic Spyro Stamp by RadSpyroN.Brio Stamp by angelblood

Activity


So...yeah. I've barely been on or replying these past two months. There are technical reasons, and outside reasons. This year and last year have just been hectic, and I've needed to take things a lot more seriously when it comes to studying and doing out-of-college work. That and I'm just incredibly tired at the moment. Even if I had full access to internet I doubt I'd be uploaded much images; I've not found the motivation to work on anything and the reason I keep Lifeforce going so much is that I promised myself I wouldn't give up on the story. So yeah, those are the only things you'll be seeing from me.

Sounds a bit like a downer, I know, but I'm not a celebrity here and people have their own stuff to get on with, so I doubt my absence is tear-jerking. Just letting those who are watching out for things that they'll come, but they'll come slow.

So yeah, sorry for not being on, but I'll do my best to get Lifeforce finished for those reading. Sorry for the lack of art.
And I'm...admin of two groups. I have no idea how they work, so If there are duties I have been ignoring, I'm terribly sorry for being clueless.

:iconlaplz: 

:iconidontthinksobetchplz:

:iconthefonzplz: :icongoofygrinplz:

Ratchet and Clank Stamp by Ben-Anderson
.:Ratchet and Clank stamp 4:. by dannyphantom300
Land before time stamp by Sony-ShockStamp: Bravestarr by Gatekat Cragmite OC Support by WolfzenStamp - Dallas and Juanita by Lurking-Leanne
Cragmite Empire Stamp by HlTLER
Aaaahhh What by MiharuWatanabeI love ReBoot by thebadkittyCrash Bandicoot stamp by RobinBaxterButt


Dr. N. Tropy Stamp by xSweetSlayerxSly 4 stamp~ The Ancestors by SeeraphineClassic Spyro Stamp by RadSpyroN.Brio Stamp by angelblood

Lifeforce Chapter 42

"There is no compromise when it comes to corruption. You have to fight it."

A. K. Antony

Its Time You Stopped Thinking and Wasting the Day

Ratchet stared down at the communicator in his hand with the stiffness of a corpse. After seeing memories that were not his, after he'd seen possession, death, and that thing creeping towards him through the Lifeforce, he'd been pretty sure nothing could beat the unease he'd already felt. He was wrong. He could hear the crackling of fire still, the soft beeping of the alarm far off in the place the other communicator lay.

What bothered him weren't the sounds. It was the fact he could hear them. Someone had known he was coming out of hyperspace at that exact moment, had called him, and was silently letting him listen to what they'd done. He should be happy, he realized, the villains getting their just deserts and slowing down a little. But...still. Something wasn't right.

His fur bristled when his ears pinpointed a new sound. Quiet, barely there. But he heard it. Breathing, steady yet a little laboured, as if someone had run quite a bit and was just calming down. Ratchet gulped, forcing down the shudder that threatened to make him move. As if the person didn't know he was listening already...

Then, abruptly, they hung up. Ratchet stared stupidly at the communicator, at a loss for words. It had to be the armoured lombax, but why? Why call him up to let him listen, when he could obviously see his handiwork? And if so why not say something...?

Ratchet placed down his communicator and gripped the steering sticks once more. He'd deal with it later, and find Clank. Maybe then he wouldn't feel like he was losing his mind.

Cranking up the cloaking device, he steadily moved forward, knowing the trio of scum on board would be having their hands full at the moment. He looked down at his communicator and wondered if they'd be able to pick up the small signal, with all the trouble they were having.

He knew it was risky, but he couldn't help it. He picked up the communicator, ignoring Trisby's warnings of contact ringing in his brain.

...

"They'll find out we're on the surface if they hadn't by now. We have to move quickly."

Clank did his best to follow Trisby through the large-leaved plants of Cobalia. The gel station he and Ratchet had met a certain blue smuggler on wasn't far, and it certainly was no library, but at least it would be a location to work with. Two small beings such as themselves would be hard to spot, now that Qwark was gone.

He ducked under a branch that Trisby had passed by, narrowly avoiding its slap. Still, being loud and quick wouldn't help. "Forgive me for saying, but I think we should travel at a slower pace if we are to remain unnoticed."

"Clank...your suggestions are nice, but they won't fit here. If the archaeologists let a lot slip, that means Tachyon's probably got his goons tearing the libraries apart looking for that dratted book." Trisby flicked a leave out of her way, scoffing, "If he doesn't resort to burning the place."

"He needs the book to find the Lifeforce himself. We know he has not obtained it yet; otherwise his forces would have left. We are in luck." Clank jogged a little to keep up with Trisby, who seemed to be doing her best to look forward and not at him. She sighed, shaking her head.

"We can't slow down."

"Why?" Clank finally asked, doing his best to keep the concern from his voice – pinning this on a deeper problem would have Trisby snapping at him again. Luckily she paid no attention, glaring ahead.

"We just can't, Clank. Call it intuition." Clank frowned a tad as they continued, and he argued no further.

...

Above their heads, several winged creatures, blending in with the branches and moss, eyed them quietly, stiff as boards. They watched as the two small figures moved to the gel station, hopping up the steps towards the higher pumps.

With a squawk, they flew out of sight again.

...

The Loki glanced down at the screen to his left on his hover-throne, noting a soft bleeping sound. Tachyon was berating several guards on their failure to catch the person responsible for their engine, and his own fury dissolved when he saw the message. He smirked.

"Hmm."

"What're you looking so pleased about, furball?" Nefarious snapped from below. The Loki rolled his eyes and turned to face him, placing a hand on the side of his throne to lean his weight on.

"Two of my kind that I sent to keep a look-out have spotted the tin can and that infernal woman heading to a gel station on Cobalia." He drawled, watching with hidden smugness as Tachyon's head jerked around in mid-rant and the robot stiffened. "They are alone. The lombax is not with them."

Nefarious slapped his hands together. "Splendid! It'll be all too easy to apprehend those two runts!"

"I do not plan on capture this time." The Loki retorted smoothly, and he meant it. Nefarious's eye twitched,

"Oh, fine mister sour, you can get rid of that cat lady, but we need the short-fry as bait to lure Ratchet in!"

The Loki opened his mouth to respond, but was cut off- surprisingly – by Tachyon.

"The heroic fool will indeed come after them. Do not fret – you will have your chance to end that mangy cat once we are done with the lombax and his companions." The cragmite gave a mirthless smirk. The Loki rolled his eyes,

"In my opinion keeping prisoners hasn't gotten any of us anywhere."

"Apart from the bean-spilling rock-studiers who told us about Cobalia..." Nefarious muttered, unaware he was backing up his rival villain. The Loki shrugged, standing up straight.

"Very well, I'll let you two play with your food –"

"Ironic as you are the feline here." Tachyon remarked, turning away on his own throne. The Loki scowled deeply as he stomped off. "Our decoy plan is still intact, but we will leave it for the lombax alone. It shall slow him down further."

"And where are you off to?" The Loki sneered.

"To find the other lombax myself. I'll scare him out of his hole." Tachyon sneered. The Loki watched him until the doors slid shut behind his walking throne, and he tittered. Nefarious eyed him, almost suspiciously. His smile faltered,

"And what are you looking at, Doctor?"

"...Nothin', you twit." Nefarious turned away as Tachyon had, moving off. Apparently they were leaving the cockpit to the Loki himself. Said spirit watched the robot doctor go with a narrowed gaze. The robot's confidence was faltering, he could see it. Any time now he'd be the first to aim his dagger at their backs, but he was ready. Nefarious had never led anyone else with a brain; just drones and other mindless minions. Tachyon had little more experience, ruling by fear, never dealing with the subtle politics the Loki had. He'd been among equals – or the closest to it, the Loki would add – and he could see an attack coming from years before.

He leaned against the wall of his throne again, shrugging carelessly to himself. But then something odd happened. A stir in his mind; like a dog in front of his eyes – and image appeared. For a second he'd seen a flash of a forest, blue and purple – and he recognised it as Magnus instantly.

He scowled. Standing, the Loki prodded his mind, and flexed his hands – or at least the hands he'd stolen. Never had an image from the mind of a creature he'd possessed poked its way through. How odd...

He'd have to keep a closer eye on his control. Not that there was any danger.

...

Dinkles remembered when the armoured lombax had crashed through the ceiling. However, something about him made him wish to leave the building. And he did; whipping out the window into the forests around the lab. Something just wasn't right.

Quietly he slid through the trees and leaves, keeping out of sight. Strange things still lingered even after the majority of the Loki had gone away. He paused on a branch, sitting down where he was and fiddling with his paws.

He peered around, and remained there for some time. It must have been a while, for he saw the lombax emerge from the lab. His ears lifted in surprise. Had he not been hurt? Where was Nevo and Dr Croid?

His ear twitched and he could hear them talking within the lab still. It wasn't too far and they didn't sound worried. The lombax, cloaked in the darkness of the night, sat down near a small stream and lay on his back.

Curious, but wary, Dinkles climbed back down from the tree and ventured nearer. The lombax did not move, and he idly wondered if he couldn't hear him at all. Then his head turned suddenly – and Dinkles fled before he could be seen. There was something...something about the lombax. But he didn't know if it was a good something or a bad something.

...

The group of Loki swooped down to the Thora clearing with none of the mocking expressions they usually donned. The second the Thora saw them the air seemed to take on a horrid chill, and mothers fled soundlessly with their children to the underground dwellings. Those who remained stiffened and looked over in apprehension.

Nikodemus was not among them, but there was one who held the same pompous air about him at the front of the gang, eyeing them all one by one – making it clear they were looking for someone. Some of the Thora paled when they realize – quite obviously – who it was.

"You won't find her here." A small Thora commented almost dimly from the side. The leading Loki male's head jerked to look at him, and he clearly forced down a smirk at the frail looking creature opposite him.

"I take it word does travel quickly among crawling insects." Fiver frowned a tad at this, but said nothing.

"I'm surprised the Loki responded to something like this." He ignored the looks of surprise from both Thora and Loki. What he really meant was that he was surprised the Loki believed what happened. Those who'd seen it happen had trouble believing it.

Well, the gaping wound of the Loki man that broke the Thora man's neck had to have come from somewhere. Tressakay had not been seen where she usually was afterwards. Some said she'd fled, others said she was waiting until more Loki came into her midst...

He glanced at the tunnel entrance. The Loki followed his gaze and sneered. Fiver cursed himself inwardly; he clearly took that as some indication.

"I'll save myself the both of nearing your inferior dwellings." The Loki said, folding his heavy arms, "Tell this...girl to face us and the rest of you won't be harmed."

There was a silence. The surrounding Thora exchanged looks, one by one, and soundlessly stared back at the Loki without a word.

The air shifted above, and all heads lifted – Tressakay had slid into view high above them. Her face was cast in a shadow and her single eye was a slit bearing down upon the groups – Fiver felt a chill run up his spine, one he'd never felt when seeing her face. The Loki's brow raised but he didn't look afraid, none of them did – just...surprised.

Fools, Fiver couldn't help but mutter in his head.

"You're not welcome here. I suggest you leave." Tressakay slowly floated downward; Thora shifted away as she halted in front of the Loki group. The leading male snickered.

"So this is the attacker? Surprising. That is, I'm surprised you where able to hold any sort of weapon capable of scratching a Loki."

"If by scratch you mean 'maim'." Tressakay muttered. Something was different about her, and Fiver could feel it. The air was freezing. The moisture on some nearby leaves had slowly turned to a crisp frost, unnoticed by all but him. Or maybe not, since the Thora all around seemed to have grown just as stiff, but where still watching attentively.

The Loki man hovered forward, his smugness gone. "My patience is limited, runt." His arm reached out without warning and he tried to seize Tressakay's – and a flash of blue sprang from around her, smacking it away. The Loki gave a strangled hiss as if burnt, gripping his arm with a wide eye. There was a collective gasp from all parties, and the other Loki jerked into far less pompous postures.

The Loki male looked up at Tressakay again, gripping his arm. "What – what are you?!" He didn't wait for an answer, and lunged. Tressakay lifted and arm and swung it down, and a whiplash of ice sprang from her skin just as before, striking the ground. Blue-white spikes spouted in front of her and travelled towards the Loki – they cast themselves out of the way and the path of spikes hit a nearby tree. It cracked and fell, demolished by the blow.

Another flicker of light surrounded Tressakay, like a faltering electric wire. The Loki where all looking at her as if she was a bomb, a very confusing bomb. Her lip curled just a little.

The leading Loki straightened up, near feral. "I won't stand before this insolence!" He lunged again at the Thora girl – and the other Thora gasped in horror.

Whether the horror was for him or her Fiver would never know. Tressakay slowly lifted her arms, as if waiting for the right second, and threw her hand out at the Loki. A blast of white flew from her palm and struck him, sending him flying back and rolling across the ground. He lay there, sparking as if he'd just been electrocuted.

The Loki stared at her, and fled, dragging him along with them, their faces frozen in shock. Tressakay was panting, staring after them. Fiver swallowed, looking at her, but she didn't look at him. It almost felt like she was doing her best not to look at anyone else.

The Thora woman gathered around the place where staring into her, but not with their usual scorn. Was it envy? He didn't know. He wondered...if he'd been able to, would he have done the same...?

...

Clank and Trisby reached the gel gate with almost no delay. Robots hovered here and there, but otherwise it was quite deserted. Clank remembered the Smuggler once telling them – that is, he and Ratchet – that this was Polaris's gel capital.

It seemed odd it would have a library, let alone be the library where such an important book lay – but then again, a planet is a planet, people would need to read, and Ickabar's first book needed to start somewhere.

He supposed all attention was on said libraries. So to find the one Tachyon's forces were searching, they simply had to locate the largest density of minion activity. "Perhaps we can find a radar of some sorts..." He mused aloud.

Trisby chuckled nearby, fiddling with some wires near one of the gates. "Chattering to the Zoni, Clank?"

He would have blushed if he was capable. "Simply thinking aloud." He returned, trying to keep the tone humorous. "What are you working on?"

"Just seeing if I can wire the gate from here, but it doesn't look like it. Guess we'll just have to move through the lil' nooks and crannies."

Clank watched as Trisby straightened up and wandered to the side of the platform. She frowned down at the moist ground below. Clank approached quietly and peered over the side to see what had caused her look.

He saw it. A ship partially covered on moss and cracks. Yet it didn't appear to be that old despite this, and it struck him as oddly familiar. "How odd...do you know the owner?"

"No...but if the staff bots where active here they would have removed a wreckage so close to the gel pumps. Which means they're not here."

"Odd, these gel factories where functional up until now, they were opened after Tachyon's power fell." Clank remarked, watching Trisby as she moved again, this time to the other side of the platform. She scrutinised the trees off the gel station's outskirts.

There was a blur of orange-bronze. Clank's optics widened. "Trisby...I fear we should take cover."

"You may be right." She turned and hurried quickly past him, seizing his wrist and pulling him further into the gel station. Behind them the orange-bronze inions burst from the bushes and approached; their humming voices carrying over the wind.

Trisby pulled Clank towards various thin pipes, and hopped up two or three before glancing back to see if he was following. Clank used his helicopter device to float upwards after her. With a half-grin she continued on herself.

"Nice gizmo, but it'll need to turn off once we find an air vent."

"Will there be air vents into the factory?"

"There's always air vents in places that should have security measures." Trisby replied with a grin.

Clank blinked, and continued following. Trisby stopped at a small air vent and pulled at the bars, giving a sharp groan at their refusal to open. Clank pulled a screwdriver from his hatch and was about to jab at the screws when a plasma blast sprang from behind them. Trisby and Clank jumped aside as the minions shot at them – and their blasts unwittingly opened the small vent hatch. Trisby smirked and dived down without a second thought. Clank looked back at the minions once before another blast hit the space right by his foot, and he hopped down after her instantly.

Trisby was already quite far ahead despite the second delay. Clank tore after her in a quick jog. "Trisby, I am falling behind!" He called, noting the blur of yellow going around the corner of the tunnel-like vent. To his relief, she called back.

"Out of practice, Secret Agent Clank?"

"Not at all." Clank called, trying not to laugh despite himself. He turned the corner and found she'd stopped, looking downward once more through some thin bars over an opening in the air vents. She was scowling. Clank, feeling an odd sense of déjà-vu, joined her and looked down.

A thug – dressed just like the ones that had been working for the Orange lombax who was clearly sanity-challenged – was standing below them with a remote-like device, pointing it at the controls of the gel gate. Beside him was an open communicator, and an oh-so familiar voice hovered from it.

"Make sure they don't know you're here. I wouldn't have to file your, ahem, resignation form would I?" The Orange lombax said in a half giggle. The thug swallowed,

"No, sir. Everything's-"

An alarm sounded. The thug jumped a bit and looked towards a security camera – he'd seen the robotic minions. "S-sir – the Loki's minions are here!"

"Goodie gumdrops. Let them have their rat race for now." Orange chortled. "I'll be in touch shortly. Keep the tiny couple and their minion pals busy." The communicator shut off and Trisby looked to Clank, frowning deeply still.

"We're being played like tuneless fiddles. It seems this orange maniac was able to track us somehow, long enough for him to plan in advance."

"It seems everyone knows what we will do before we do it." Clank remarked slowly. "It is rather...strange."

They looked at each other. Trisby was still frowning, and Clank forced down the ideas in his head. Trisby would not betray them, her motives didn't match up. But how where they being spied on so easily? It was possible something could have been planted on one of them, but tracking devices weren't mind readers. Orange's goons would have gotten here after them if they were following. No, they knew in advance.

"Maybe he learned from Tachyon somehow." Clank said aloud, though obviously keeping his voice low when they were so close to enemies. "Tachyon knew where the book was, Orange may be spying on him – and obviously since we're after the book he'd know we were coming, too."

"Hmm..." Trisby began walking again, her hastiness all but gone. "We can think out loud later. Right now it's just wasting time. Come on." Clank followed uncertainly.

Clank's commucator began beeping from within his square chest hatch. Trisby stiffened, and so did he as the beeping rang through the air vents.

"..."

"Whazzat?"

"It came from above!"

Trisby grabbed Clank by his antenna and pulled him along as those below, be it minion or goon, fired upwards at the air vents.

"If that's Ratchet on the phone, tell him I'll kill him!"

Ratchet and Clank Lifeforce Chapter 42
Sorry for the late reply. Bad internet, lots of work, and tiredness. You know the drill of excuses I'm afraid. SORRY if I hide any comments - because of the new way things are structured spoilers can be seen in comments on my page, as they are right beside the chapter on display. So nothing personal, I don't think comments are spam, its just to avoid spoilers. I'll un-cover them once enough time has passed and the new chappie's up.
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Lifeforce Chapter 41

“Cruel people offer pity when they no longer feel threatened. However, kind people offer compassion and understanding regardless.” 
― Shannon L. Alder

Tres Mis

When Ratchet came to, he wasn't lying on the ground. The next thing he knew, he was standing opposite Ickabar's grave, staring down at the ivy-covered stone, his hands limp at his side. The nausea had faded and he had the feeling of someone who'd just recovered from a severe bout of flu; stiff, hungry and exhausted.

Inside, however, he felt an ache chipping at his chest. For a moment he didn't realize what he'd just seen. He closed his eyes, his mind flipping through the hundreds of memories he'd seen. It was really over. Ickabar was dead. He'd been a living person, in his mind, and there he lay opposite him. It felt unreal.

Wait.

Ratchet's head reeled. Percival Locksher was alive. He glanced sideways at the grave, the empty grave, as clarity rang in his brain. Could it be that this was the answer? Could Percival Locksher have something to do with the whereabouts of the Lifeforce? Had these horrible memories been leading to him?

But how would he ever locate him? How did he know if he was even alive?

Perhaps it wasn't over.

Ratchet breathed in and turned away from the grave. He'd need to get back to Clank and Trisby – where was it they were to meet? Yes – the library on Cobalia. It's almost felt like they'd planned that months ago. Ratchet stretched, flexing his stiff fingers. Then he began walking away from the graves.

Then he stopped, and looked over his shoulder at them one last time. The wind tickled his ears. "...This doesn't end here. I'm gonna made sure he pays for what he did."

He strode off, the warmth coming back into his limbs, as he had a lead to go on. He passed through the roads, finding them far colder than he had before, but somehow the emptiness felt greater now that the sickness in his system had faded away. Ratchet's mind slid back to the voice. The thing...it had spoken to him.

He'd almost stopped walking, but forced himself to keep going. He couldn't waste anymore time. Ickabar had mentioned, again, that 'thing' getting closer. Ratchet had no idea how the Lifeforce worked or what it was, but something was definitely...inside it. If it was a thing that could have something inside it.

He rubbed his temples, groaning. That didn't make any sense, either.

His mind slid back to Ickabar, lying in his grave, and he felt his confusion fade into sadness once more. Something in the yellow lombax's chest fell.

It's not like you could have done anything. It happened long ago...

Ratchet returned to his ship, after a long time of walking with a blank mind. He'd simply stopped trying to think about anything. He hopped into the ship, his hands grasping the familiar metal of the control sticks. His fur bristled at the feeling, and with a grin he felt like himself again.

How odd it was. Getting back here felt so quick. In fact, everything seemed to move quicker, even his brain. Still full of questions, and unease...but at least there was somewhere to go from here. Find Ickabar's book...and his son.

...

Her head in her hands, Tressakay leant against the stiff, cold wall. How she'd managed to get away from the gawking crowd she didn't know. All she knew that she was alone, outside in the darkness. Her hands ached, feeling chilled to the bone, while the rest of her body burned.

She mentioned what she'd done in flashes. Shards of ice, glass-like and deadly, forged out of clean air. They'd grown so quickly, and hit the Loki Man – was he dead? She didn't know, and she didn't care.

She did not. The anger had faded, and she knew there was no going back. The council would be furious, horrified – the Loki would be, too. Confused, as well – and they hated not knowing what was going on.

Tressakay wished she knew. Never had it happened that way before. Never had her Lifeforce been so strong, so...violent. She'd felt it in her mind, then in her veins – and then suddenly it had become the ice before her.

A crackling sound caught her attention. She turned her head and slid away from the wall, her heavy breathing catching in her throat. The wall she'd leant on, just where her skin had touched the rock – was gradually freezing over. The frost spread, blue-ish and pale. Out of the corner of her eye she saw a little stream at the edge of the forest beginning to seize up, and a little plant caught by the cold stiffened, and became crooked and still under the frost. The life of it seemingly gone.

Tressakay looked down at her palm, and instead of trying to calm herself, she listened to the beating in her chest, her head, and in her hands.

Maybe there was a good reason for them fearing her.

...

...

Clank stared at the blockade around Cobalia. There was a fleet hovering around the planet; thinly stretched to cover it, but a fleet all the same. Behind him Qwark was chewing loudly on his gloved nails; their tiny ship hidden only by a cloaking device. Trisby stood to his left at the pilot seat, eyeing the enemy ships silently.

"This could be a problem." He commented, though it was obvious. In truth he just wanted to get Trisby talking. She glanced at him, a brow raised his way.

"No kidding. But I have a few ideas in mind." Clank tilted his head, trying not to seem suspicious.

"Like what, exactly?" Trisby's lips curled ever so slightly. Clank tried not to notice it.

"We'll need a distraction. An old fashioned diversion should do the trick on a smaller fleet."

Clank tackled the first question that came to mind, "Which brings another issue – I am aware Tachyon must have already conquered this planet again, but it's coincidental indeed that a fleet appears to guard it, as if knowing we were on our way."

Trisby scowled, slowly. "...The archaeologists." The small creature hit a hand against her forehead, cursing under her breath. Clank blinked.

"This was obvious, urgh – they must have let something slip about where that dratted purple lombax sent his work!"

Clank's optics flashed in alarm. "Oh dear. So this could –"

"Very well be a trap. And with such a measly fleet I wouldn't be surprised. They could already be hovering around some of the libraries on the planet's surface."

Clank ran a hand under his smooth head, where a chin might have been if he hadn't been a robotic lifeform. If this was Nefarious's idea he'd have more confidence in their trap-escaping, but after Ratchet rendered his skull...broken, this could be Tachyon or the Loki's work. Their traps where far more hazardous. Tachyon had torn down large parts of Kerwan in order to attack Ratchet. They weren't Nefarious.

"We may have to take the risk." Clank stated slowly. Trisby's face was, as always, unreadable as she glared at the fleet before then. Then she shrugged nonchalantly, but it seemed forced.

"I suppose we can go along with the diversion plan, then?"

Clank tilted his head, "What did you have in mind?"

"Do you always tilt your head or did our last run in with the baddies break it somehow?"

...

Qwark's ship slowly approached the fleet. Clank and Trisby sat still, watching him. Getting him to do this took at least ten minutes persuasion. Clank had to promise that all it involved was getting close, and then making a heroic retreat. He also reminded him of all the points he'd get on opinion polls should he do this stunt.

Tribsy gripped the steering controls hard and tight, her eyes narrowing. Clank leaned in a tad.

"This seems rather obvious."

"It's our best shot." She replied snippily. Clank tried not to sigh.

Qwark's ship grew close – Clank could almost image the alarm on the fleet pilot's faces – and when the first few ships tilted his way, Qwark bailed. His ship turned, quickly and clumsily, and began speeding back the way it came. A few ships followed.

"It's rather amazing that Qwark was able to get his ship out here on autopilot in the first place."

"I almost wished he didn't. Having him call through the transmitter to it like a dog was beyond unnerving." Trisby replied, throwing down the speed lever. They sped forward, Tribsy aiming for the small gap the Qwark-chasing ships had left. The thinness of the fleet allowed them to travel through quickly. The two of them didn't dare look at the ships so close them, as if unwilling to jinx their luck.

They slid out on the other side of the fleet, and down towards the planet Cobalia. Trisby managed a weak chuckle. Clank sent a beam her way. For a second she almost seemed ready to grin back, but looked at the windscreen instead.

...

Boredom and cragmite emperors didn't mix well. Tachyon was poised atop his throne as always, drumming his sharp fingers on the front of the cockpit of the spider-like contraption, eyeing the display screens above. The fleet around Cobalia was, as the Loki insisted, not as thick as he'd wanted it to be. Nefarious had sprung various traps throughout this plan, and it was more than beating a dead horse to do it again.

Irritably, he listed off their immediate problems. The keeper's brat and his gang where still at large, though ever a step behind them. Then there was this other lombax that apparently had sneaked around the streets of the criminal underworld during his reign, infuriatingly enough – and yet a third in armour wandering around. Of course there was the resistance backing the first lombax and his tin backpack, but they were hardly a threat. Their resistance was merely a stalling act; they hoped their furry hero would save the day before he eroded their defences.

He sneered to himself and glanced at one of the smaller screens. He heard the door to the Battleship cockpit sliding open, and closing shortly after, signalling someone had walked in. He heard a casual humming of a deeper voice – and guessed the Loki. Him and his odd habits. It wasn't pleasant, cheery humming, and to those of weaker nerves it may have been almost eerie. It ended a moment later.

"How long have you observed those screens? We do have minions for that."

Tachyon sneered in response to that remark. "Our enemies could easily slither past our minions."

"Or you are just paranoid." The Loki was idly staring down at his claws – Tachyon scowled at him, wondering why he would when they weren't even his.

"They managed to get right into your precious Ephemeris when your Stewart was meant to be watching. In fact, didn't your 'retired' commander let them in?"

"A minor oversight. I didn't think of them as much of a threat, so I let my lesser deal with them." The Loki replied snippily. Tachyon scoffed, but before he could reply the parasite cut him off, "And if I recall correctly they waltzed into your maximum security prison just as easily. So let's call it an even setback and focus on the task at hand."

The cragmite overlord was nearly taken back. The Loki never ended an argument this way. He glared at him suspiciously before turning his attention back to the screen – only to see a small green ship flittering past the fleet.

"What in the name of-"

There was a florescent 'Q' on the side of the ship. Tachyon gaped for a second, trying to wrap his head around this – and the Loki looked even more surprised. They glanced at each other incredulously before looking back at the screens – indeed, the little ship was burrowing towards the fleet – but suddenly it skidded around in a turn.

The Loki actually chuckled, "It seems he lost his nerve."

"He kept it longer than the halfwit usually would have." Tachyon snarled, grabbing the announcement mike, "Attention troopers –"

The doors to the cockpit slid open once more. Tachyon swung his head around irritably to see who it was, and found Nefarious was in the doorway – his head somewhat repaired, but his eye looking beyond repair, slanted in its socket. The Loki smiled nastily at him, as if on an inside joke. Tachyon looked back at the screen.

"I want that green imbecile apprehended immediately! Alive will do, but I do not care what bodily harm he receives!"

Nefarious stormed in, eyeing them both in disdain – and sized up when he saw the screens. "What?!"

"I'm sure this is exactly what you wished to see upon your recovery." The Loki commented meanly from the left. Nefarious ignored him, swinging around and pointing a metal digit up at Tachyon,

"Listen, grub, this is a job for MY minions, no one takes down Qwark but me and my forces!"

"Your minions are supplied by me for the most part." The Loki snapped. Tachyon tossed the mike away and seized the joysticks that controlled his throne – he was not being back-talked by some metal scrap heap.

"If you do not watch your tongue I'll have you tossed out with the rest of the trash!" The arm of the throne jabbed him forcefully in the chest. Nefarious staggered back before slamming a foot down to balance himself. He was positively fuming. The Loki's mouth twisted in a pointed smirk. Between them and their thrones, above him, and in a room filled with all their minions but none of his, Nefarious looked quite exposed.

The robot scientist folded his arms in forced casualness. The little backpack's words where ringing unwelcomed in his ears now. He didn't like being outnumbered on this. "Weeell, glad to see you two are such pals now. Ya know, considering one of you belongs to the species that destroyed your planet and the other planned on sending a bunch of monsters back to Reepor –"

Their alliance with Nefarious, in a way, could have ended right there – but one of the troopers from the fleet outside Cobalia chose that exact moment to ring in.

"Sirs – Sirs – something got past us while we were trying to apprehend the green thing, sirs!"

The trio stiffened. Slowly, they turned to look at the screens, seeing nothing but Qwark's ship flittering around. Tachyon snarled, his temper flaring, "What do you mean, simpleton?!"

"We do not kn-now, sir – our scanners only picked it up for a second before it got into the atmosphere!"

"A diversion. We were played like fiddles." The Loki sneered. Nefarious swung around and kicked a little worker drone with such force that it split in two as it soared across the room.

"ARGH! They can't be allowed to get to the planet surface! LAWRENCE!"

The butler stuck his head through the doors, "Sir?"

"Have our minions sent to Cobalia whether these two up-starts like it or not!" Tachyon and the Loki looked murderous – "We need to find them before they find what they're looking for!"

"And you have not yet made it clear what that is." The Loki remarked dryly to the cragmite. Despite his earlier threat to demolish Nefarous should he anger him again, the cragmite seemed to be frozen in thought. Then, he smirked, to their great surprise.

"If those little gnats where able to slink by our defences like this, we will not find them quick enough on the surface. However, they will be heading to the libraries...which we will let them do."

"Another trap?" The Loki remarked in a bored air. Tachyon cackled.

"No. We will not go near them. We will leave something in the place of what they wish to find."

"A decoy? It may work - That is if your men find it first." The Loki folded his arms, slowly. Nefarious glowered at them both.

"My forces will slow them down, you pair of pint sized lordships! Mark my words!"

The Loki turned his attention to him, irked. "I'll hold you to that."

...

"...I do hope Ratchet is all right. Being alone at this time..." Clank remarked quietly. Their journey to the planet's surface would be several minutes – which he didn't like the silence of now that Qwark – ironically – was gone. Trisby seemed to sense this, and sighed.

"I'm afraid what we want to happen doesn't matter right now. From what I've heard, your friend is made of tough stuff. He'll make it through some spooky visions no problem."

"He is your friend, too, now, is he not?" Clank said slowly, through with a small smile. Trisby lowered her head and chuckled. She shook her head next.

"You're persistent, I'll give you that. But I doubt even he'd back you up on this one, Clank. I'm afraid you're just too nice for your own good."

Clank didn't know why, but he had the odd feeling that something was troubling Trisby. She'd been more snippy at one point, then another a little...softer. Still blunt either way however. "...Is something on your mind?"

"You asked earlier, and I'll tell you now that if something was bothering me...I wouldn't tell you." Trisby looked at him, then, looking a little stiff. "We're on the same side, Clank, but we're not friends. But we're not enemies either. And mark my words; after this is all over, I doubt you will ever see me again."

There was a clear finality to her tone, and Clank sensed the end of this conversation. Turning to stare back through the windshield, he found himself wishing Ratchet was here more than ever.

...

The armoured lombax moved through the ship slowly and carefully. The corridors where lined with minions after the break-in by the yellow lombax and his friends. Not that it was a problem; he'd slithered through more dangerous halls.

Breathing steadily, he made his way further down the ships' interior, towards the other engines. The damage he'd done to the first one hadn't been enough to slow this beat of a transportation vessel down at all.

He stopped by a door and lifted his head, spotting an air vent shaft above. A quick glance left and right, he kicked off one of the walls and caught onto the bars of the vent door, lifting his legs to his chest. He unscrewed one side and slid in almost clumsily, pulling the door back shut behind him.

In an uncomfortable crouch he made his way through the vent as quietly as possible. He could hear voices, eerily floating in through the other vent openings. Two high-pitched, one a lower key. The big three arguing, probably.

He didn't follow them. Instead he went deeper into the ship. He could hear the jabber of minions below him, and the smell of burning fuel. A grin, hidden by his metal helmet, spread across his face.

He came to a shaft opening, with thin blind-like bars. It was very high up, but there was a barred catwalk-like bridge over the area. He could see the engine furnace, burning and bright, and fuel piled up all around it. The minions where shovelling it in.

Slowly, he slid out of the vents and onto the catwalk. The soft clink he made when landing didn't alert the semi-intelligent beings alone. Still in a crouch, he peered over the side of the bridge to the open furnace below.

He reached into his pocket and drew out a small, round object. Then he stood, lifted his arm, and tossed it to the gaping mouth of the furnace.

BANG.

The giant engine spluttered like a fork in a toaster. The engine fire had ignited the grenade, blowing up the furnace and all the poor minions unfortunate enough to be close to it. The lombax was leaping back into the vent as the heat of the fire began spreading and the alarms sounded all around him.

Back in the vents, he made no attempt to be quiet over the ear-peeling alarm beep, and he snickered to himself as he moved away.

...

Ratchet came out of hyperspace seconds later, to see the Battleship and its accompanying fleet still far away, but visible. As his eyes set on it, he felt his eyes bulge in alarm – fire had appeared at one side of the ship. An explosion.

"What...?" Ratchet peered closer, but at this distance he saw nothing. His mind spun back to the last time he'd been on the ship. The armoured lombax. What – was he still on board?!

Ratchet heard a soft ring. Confused, he looked around for it, and found it on the floor – his communicator. His first instinct was that it was Clank, and relief flared in his chest- only to deflate as he saw a number calling that he didn't recognise.

He answered. "Hello...?"

But no one spoke.

Instead he heard the crackling of fire in the background, as if on display for him to hear.

My previous journal detailed my problems with the internet. I'm taking ten-five minutes to try and reply to as much messages as possible here, check on my tumblr and so forth. You really don't know how much you rely on the internet until it dies on you. 

So the update is, we still haven't fixed the problem and I still have no idea when it'll be fixed. As for those reading Lifeforce, I'm sorry for the slower updates, but its just how it is at the moment. I'll try and get the next chapter up.

At the same time this may be a little convenient. Of course its annoying not having internet and so on, but as I've said in previous Lifeforce notes, my health and my college work isn't exactly good at the moment. I'm handling the work fine, but as its nearing June (I know it seems long, but with the stuff I need to get done that seems like nothing) I wasn't going to be on much anyway.

So sorry to people I know about this incredibly slow year I've gotten into. And for basically handing you call a bunch of excuses, but life's life.

Lifeforce Chapter 40

It matters not how strait the gate,
How charged with punishments the scroll,
I am the master of my fate,
I am the captain of my soul.

William Ernest Henley

The Braided Lombax

Fergus walked. The ache in his body was all the more apparent. He was aware of the crack in his leg bone and his ribs, the bruises paining his arms. Yet as he walked, he felt...clear. He did not feel torment or anger, or coldness. He felt oddly light. He knew his way ahead, and for some reason the pain in both his heart and body seemed to ease.

Fergus looked around himself, at the remains of the city. He did not recognize some home he missed. To him, 'home' was a silly sentiment. He didn't feel different depending on the place he was in. Still...he had been used to Fastoon. The emptiness threatened to spill on him, to make him shudder – but it didn't. He would have smirked had he felt anything. Even this incident hadn't made him feel patriotic.

Fergus continued walking; his pace slow and steady. The quietness weighed down on him. He had an odd feeling; that feeling you get when you're the last person left in the room after a party or something. The irking feeling to leave as well.

The braided lombax's fingers where curled into fists, not tight or gripping. Just walking, feeling clearer than he had every remembered. Yet at the same time, he felt...tired. He felt heavy.

It was the closest thing to being happy that he'd ever felt, in a way.

That's not true. You where happy with them.

But 'them' no longer existed. There was just him, like there had been all those years ago. Scratch-less and surviving when so many others died. But not this time.

He passed a corner, and spotted a flattened rock, or brick, or whatever it was it lay nearby. Nearby Fergus spotted a bottle, remarkably still intact. He realized how badly he was limping and slid down to sit on the rock, soundlessly. He didn't care about the pain.

He reached down and plucked the bottle from the ground, and by instinct raised it to his lips. He'd been so thirsty for hours...but suddenly his throat felt sickly. Fergus opened his eyes and glanced at the tipped bottle.

Then, he stood up, eyeing the green glass. With a swift flick of the wrist, he smashed it against the stone, and lifted the sharp remains.

Fergus walked on, gripping the sharp glass until it dug threateningly into his fingers. He heard the crackle of fire, and sure enough, on passing around the corner, he found the remains of a building lying at his feet, burning heartily like a camp fire.

Fergus stared at the flames, feeling the heat on his skin. His fur brushed back a little, and his eyes stung a bit from it. But he didn't back away.

His braid prodded the side of his jaw, gently. Fergus slowly reached up and took hold of it. Years, he'd carried this thing. Always hanging by him. He didn't know why, but he made up his mind and lifted the shattered glass in his other hand.

Fergus sliced the braid from his head. It dangled between his fingers, still intact, pale and flopping. Fergus stared at it; the side of his head felt oddly bare. But not in a way that he'd miss.

Slowly, he tossed the braid into the flames, and watched it shrivel and darken into ash.

...

His head whipped around. He could hear an oh-so familiar voice carrying on the air; grating, high-pitched and furious. Fergus began walking towards it.

They had been scared of him, all those running. He understood why. How couldn't you be repulsed by such a terrible person? But Fergus wasn't afraid. Not even unnerved. Perhaps he was losing the place, but he just did not care. Everything was muted.

The next corner; the rubble made a mockery of a path before him. The voice was clear now, sharp and grating. Fergus's forehead wrinkled as his ears strained at hearing it. He was berating his troopers, sounding very much like a spoiled child.

Fergus drew closer to the corner. He could see the elbow of one of the fish-creature's suits. He passed around it. They were standing, facing towards the left. A giant walking throne surrounded by five or six soldiers, and the grub at the helm leering down at them. They stood near the deep canyons – it seemed any bridges that had been here where demolished.

At last, Fergus stopped. He waited, almost feeling a weird amusement as he waited to be seen.

The side of Tachyon's face that he could see looked misshapen and strained at the skin. Never had Fergus seen him look so ugly, and it wasn't just the flesh. Fergus leaned back, his head tilting. He kept his posture slack.

Tachyon caught sight of him out of the corner of his eye at last, and his head jerked his way. For a second he stared at him, eyes bulging...then they narrowed.

"...You..."

The fish gurgled in alarm, and cocked the weapons – but did not fire. Fergus didn't flinch. He couldn't spot the smirk curling on his face, faintly.

"Welcome home, you little bastard."

Tachyon's hands curled into fists. Then he pushed a hideous grin onto his face; or what was meant to be one – it looked more like a snarl. "Home? You mean this ball of rubble floating in space that your race once called so?"

Fergus chuckled. He couldn't help it. The smugness disappeared from the cragmite's face, and Fergus felt the fire in his chest rise at seeing it. "Well I have to say, you almost had me fooled."

"What?!" Tachyon snapped irritably, glowering. Fergus paced to the left a little, absently swinging an arm.

"Oh, you know. For years you put up your act, believing it yourself at times, I could see it. People looked down on me for being so harsh, so mean." He tilted his head left and right, imitating a pathetic high-pitched version of past scolding. "Meanie Fergus being insensitive to poor smart little Percival."

Tachyon snarled, his body shaking with fury – but he said nothing. Fergus pushed on, his voice raising. "No-one, absolutely no one saw what you really where. But I did."

He faced him, halting his walk. Tachyon scoffed darkly, forcing a snicker. "You think you know what I am?"

"I always have." Fergus said plainly. He lifted his narrowed eyes towards him, chin up. "I know you're a monster. You're empty, vile, and soul-less, and you always have been. So wrapped up in self-pity that you saw nothing and no-one else. And the funny thing? You where furious because people looked at you like you where a monster. This...revenge is part of that. For your 'people' and for your treatment." Fergus lowered his head, and smirked right at the cragmite's face. "And in doing so you've made yourself everything I thought and said you where."

"Thank you for proving me right all along."

The throne stomped forward towards him. Fergus, not taking his eyes off it, plucked the wrench off his back. Tachyon snarled,

"You are ignorant as you always have been! You claimed to have seen right through me, yet here we are – your species decimated, your city destroyed – and your life about to be torn out of you."

"Hmph." True enough. It was him against them, his opinion meant nothing. "Whether I tried to stop you or not wouldn't have mattered. The higher-ups where too afraid of treading on ickle Percy's sensitive feewings to listen to any kind of warning."

"They were all fools just as you where!" The hand on the throne crashed down – but Fergus had leaped away from it. The ground beneath the fist crumbled like ash. Tachyon growled in annoyance and lashed out again, but Fergus kept moving – making sure to keep away from the canyon's cliff-like opening. The throne's walk wasn't exactly speedy. He came at him again, talking still.

"Your race deserved what it got. The most 'smart' engineering lombaxes, toppled within the space of a few days!" He broke off in a shuddering cackle, shaking his head, "It was so simple, so deliciously easy! Your mindless pity and self-righteous ways brought your downfall!"

"MY pity?" Fergus called back, his blood boiling. He knew there was no reasoning here, but he couldn't help himself, "You speak as if every view of every lombax is the same! It's childish, its – stupid! "

"Stupid is having the GALL to pity me, when my people were banished from this universe! The horrors your race committed could not be sugar-coated by false goodwill!" Tachyon snapped. Fergus stared at him. His face was maddened, blazing. He lowered his arm just a little, his anger ebbing into disbelief.

"...You actually think you're in the right. You – you're actually trying to justify this?"

Ickabar is dead. You killed him. Didn't you know that?

Fergus eyed the loathsome creature that was approaching him. His goons stood around them, making no move to help. Fergus was their bosses kill apparently.

"I do not need to justify anything to a treacherous rodent like you."

Just tell him. Tell him Ickabar is dead.

But what would that do? Draw attention to Ickabar? Tachyon was as ignorant as he claimed the lombaxes where. For all he knew, Tachyon didn't even know that Ickabar had children. Nor that he'd murdered the one named directly from him...

His stomach churned. Fergus bent his legs and flexed his fingers, gripping the wrench, forcing pressure there and away from his leg. He was here to stall.

"Treacherous? You hypocritical maggot." Fergus scoffed, slowly moving to the side. He and the throne almost circled each other; Tachyon glowering at him with vicious disdain. He was fuelling the fire, and any moment the bug would snap.

"You think you're so clever with your little egging scheme. But you have no idea what'll result in!" The arm of the throne lashed out. Fergus wasn't quick enough this time, and it smacked against his chest, sending him flying backward. The lombax felt the air in his lungs being knocked clean out, and his ruined ribs scream in anguish.

He landed roughly on the dusty floor, giving a hacking cough. Tachyon cackled yards away.

Fergus sat up and rolled to the left to avoid the arm again, barely managing to get to his feet before he had to jump away again. The throne's arm had reached right out, and Fergus saw his chance. He leaped onto it; his free hand gripping the metal and his good leg kicking him up. Tachyon's eyes bulged in anger and he whipped the arm upwards; Fergus held on still, lifting his wrench. He swung it at the cragmite, who slid back, missing it by a hair.

The arm jerked like a whip. Fergus's grip loosened and he fell, and he stuck out his good leg to aid in his landing. He did so in a crouch, snarling. "You're quicker than you look on that thing."

"You have not seen anything yet, mangy cat." Tachyon sneered in response. He slammed his hand down on a button Fergus could not see. A burst of light flew from the palm of the throne's hand, right towards him. Fergus ducked, narrowly missing a –

Lasers. How flashy.

He gritted his teeth, continuing to dodge. They went like this for silent minutes, dodging and hitting out. He aimed for the arms, trying to break them off, but to no avail. He could feel his bad leg seizing up. It must be swelling, the broken thigh. He wouldn't be able to move fast much longer.

The finality came to him, slowly, and he moved away from the lasers almost absently. Fergus hadn't dealt any damage to the throne – but he'd take care of that now. He sprinted forward straight towards it, grunting. Tachyon's eyes widened as the lombax leaped up at him – he lashed at him with two arms of his throne. Fergus expected this. He grabbed onto one of them, kicking out his leg at the other to stop them from grabbing him.

Then, in a mad idea, he spun around and aimed a kick right at the cragmite, pushing off the throne's two arms. Tachyon gave a squawk, and Fergus grinned mirthlessly.

Then he felt the hand of the throne grip his neck. Tachyon had recovered, breathing hard from the kick in the chest – but he was panting like a rapid animal. Fergus snarled back at him, mentally preparing himself for what was to come.

The arm of the throne slammed him down head first onto the ground. Fergus's whole body jolted – but his neck hadn't broken. There was a metallic taste in his mouth and his head ached. He was dazed for a second before being tossed again, and he fell haplessly through the air onto his side.

He heard the throne stamping towards him. Tachyon was no longer laughing. Slowly, he tried to push himself up – but the throne's arms gripped his legs and lifted him again. He was swung like a bat against a still-standing wall. Fergus hit it with a crunch. He screwed his eyes shut, feeling his mouth fill with his own blood.

He was thrown again, and landed on his back. He coughed, feeling the lukewarm blood from his mouth splatter on his chin.

"You have no idea how I've waited for this day, lombax." Tachyon leered, slamming the foot on the throne down on his legs. Fergus grunted, forcing his teeth to bars and his mouth shut as the pressure increased. He heard the unmistakable snap of his other leg, the pain maddening. He forced himself not to yell.

"Y-you g-gonna keep y-yapping?" He hissed through bloodied teeth, his voice a gurgle in his throat. The cragmite sneered and he slammed the foot of the throne down on his chest. Fergus nearly retched at it stomped down on his broken ribs.

His mind wavered.

Sitting by his sister's bedsides, staring at their still forms, their eyelids shut as if asleep. So still...

The arm sized him by his bloodied chest then, and lifted him. Fergus spat the blood left in his mouth, glowering. His whole body was boiling, his face hot. Yet, his mind felt foggy.

Tachyon cackled, though it wasn't as hysterical as before. He wore a sickly smug look on his maw. "You always talked too much for your own good." His smirk was discarded and another arm came at him; crashing against his jaw. Fergus's head reeled, dizzy.

Standing beside his mother's bed; in the sun-lit hospital room, watching as the life support faded away from her.

The throne slowly stomped to the cliff-like edge of the canyon. "Your people will not survive. I will find the rest of them that fled from my army like rats and exterminate them – but you will not be around to see it."

Fergus lifted his head, slowly, feeling his own hear beating heavier than ever. It pulsed in his head as he felt his own blood seeping through his clothes, staining his face. The arm reached at him again and sized his arm, giving it a sudden twist – Fergus almost yowled as his forearm snapped, and lay limp by his side. His breathing became heavy. He could barely get it out of his chest.

"I almost wish you could see the end." Tachyon sneered, lifting him out towards the canyon's jagged, rocky edge. Fergus's eyes narrowed, and despite himself...he felt a low chuckle escape his broken chest.

"I'll...h-have the last laugh in the end. I'll be waiting for you...in hell..."

Tachyon's eyes narrowed, "We shall see." He hissed. He threw Fergus away from him. The lombax's back hit against the higher wall of the canyon, knocking the last jar from his boy – and then, he fell forward into the darkness, silently.

Fergus felt the wind brush against his cheek, and his eyes slide shut.

...

He limped through the canyon on a leg that barely functioned. His head bent. As exhausted as he was, it didn't stop his aimless walk. He didn't know where he was going or why. In reality, he wished he'd perished back there. Quick and painless, and end to it all.

The canyon was dim and the destroyed city could not be seen. That was the only blessing Raymas could hope for, though he knew it was beyond what he deserved. Feeling decades older than he was, he continued around the corner. The heaviness in him ached like a wound.

His fault, all his...

He closed his eyes. Then, he forced them to open again. He looked ahead, at the sandy canyon floor...and his heart almost stopped. Someone was lying meters away from him, his body lain on a soft slope.

Raymas fell horror and sadness wash over him, and he walked unevenly towards the still form, his eyes broad. He felt empty with sorrow.

"...Fergus..." He murmured.

Bloodied and broken, his limbs mangled, but his body lain almost peacefully. His face bore no agony; his eyelids slid shut as if asleep.

Slowly, slowly, they opened by a crack. Pale grey-blue irises stared up at him. Raymas slowly fell to his knees. But he couldn't bring himself to touch Fergus's broken frames.

"I knew you couldn't have gone out that quickly." Fergus muttered plainly, eyeing him with the faint frown his face was still able to manage. Raymas swallowed, helpless.

"...I'm...I'm so sorry..."

"...Forget it. This wasn't your fault." Fergus said quietly, turning his head away, stiff. He sighed, his chest lifting slowly. "This was his fault. Only his. Not yours, mind, or Icky's. His."

Raymas hung his head. The words didn't quench the ache within him. He doubted it did the same for Fergus, truth or not.

"...I could have done it differently."

"So could I. B-but this is what is." Fergus looked at him again, tiredly. Then, he coughed, his edges screwing shut. Raymas reached out, but again, he couldn't make himself touch him. He was afraid of causing more pain to his broken frame.

Raymas withdrew his hands and closed his eyes again. Fergus's coughing subsided. "F...find Tenahee. Look after my goddaughter. She's out there...somewhere." He looked at him again. Raymas lifted his head just a little.

"...It should be you, Fergus..." He whispered.

Fergus closed his eyes, and gave a faint, weak chuckle. "Think I'll pass. I wouldn't be up for it, you know...? No...I've waited for this...a long time. It caught up with me eventually..."

Raymas could see Fergus growing quieter, and felt his eyes sting. He reached out, his hand lying on his head, touching him at last. His fur and skin where cold. The ghost of a smile still on his face, Fergus opened his eyes just a little to look at him one last time.

"...Thank you, Fergus. For Icky. For them. You where always his brother."

Fergus stared back, and if he could have nodded, he would have.

"...I wish...I could have seen him one last time." Fergus murmured, his voice husky. "I know it...can never be..."

Raymas felt something trickle down his forehead. Looking up, he saw...ash, soft and grey, was falling from the polluted sky. Falling as gently and silently as snow. It landed upon Fergus's pale, bloodied face.

Fergus lifted his head just a little.

...Are you crying, Ick?

Raymas looked back down at Fergus again, his heart heavy. "...You...you will see them again, Fergus. All of them."

Fergus closed his eyes, a faint smile still upon his lips.

His hand brushed against soft, golden grass as it rippled in the wind. He waded through it, the glow of the sun on his back; the heat on his fur.

Fergus's chest went still, the ash falling around where Raymas knelt.

Far across the shimmering fields, he could see four figures on the path. Further behind them stood the hill, against the baby blue sky.

Standing on the path, a man and woman lifted their hands to their eyes to shield them from the sun, to see him.

Two little girls ran from beside them, towards him. They called his name, their voices carried over the wind, their laughter echoing over to him as he drew near.

At long last, he was home.

...

Leo had walked back to the outside air from the station. He could have just left, that second, but he had to go back. He had to look at the city one last time. Duck was lying in the ship, barely awake. Slowly, he raised his hands to his head.

Part of him had hoped Fergus would catch up. He'd waited. But... He was gone. Fergus was gone. Ickabar, Jan, Percy...

A lump rose to his throat, and the despair almost floored him. He had no excuse to stay anymore, no one to wait for. He looked at the rubble, the bodies...what used to be his home and theirs. Giving a shuddering sigh, Leo lowered his hands away.

He turned away from the sight. He began walking, trying to focus his mind on Duck, getting him out of here, getting him help...

A rustle.

Leo froze. He'd heard something move amongst the wreckages. Slowly, stiffly, he looked over his shoulder. He held his breath. Tachyon's minions? Here already? Had his minute delay, hesitance to leave, allowed them to catch up?

He began backing away, as quietly as he could. The rustling continued, getting closer. Leo bent down and lifted up a broken rod, watching the piles of debris around him. He couldn't see it.

It went quiet. Leo waited, his heart pounding. He breathed out. It was probably just...falling rubble. He turned away and continued walking, his legs wobbling from nerves.

"...Unkey..."

A soft, quiet voice reached him. Leo stiffened. His whole body seemed to stop functioning. He stared ahead. It couldn't be. He must have gone mad.

Slowly, he turned around. A tiny figure had toddled out from around a pile of wreckage, filthy, towards him. His head covered in dried blood, his right ear missing, and the remains of it torn. A little hand on his mouth, chewing his purple fingers.

Leo's sorrow fell, and warmth and coldness washed through his body all at once as utter relief floored him inside. He couldn't believe it, but it was.

"...Percy...?"

Percy toddled towards him, whimpering, and Leo darted to him, stumbling. He scooped him up, holding him tight against his chest. Warm and soft, and alive...he was actually here. Percy lifted a hand, petting Leo's cheek, obviously and groggy despite the loss of his ear.

Leo gave a soft sob, mixed in with a laugh.

He's alive, Fergus. Ick...he's alive...

He began walking back up to the station, onto the platform. It overlooked the ruined city, the road they had travelled on far below. Leo held Percy tight the entire way, feeling the strength return to his legs.

Percy looked out over the city, at the rubble, the fire. Unrecognisable to him. A rumble below made Leo stop, and they both looked down.

Far below...he saw Tachyon and his throne. Too far from the creature to see him. Leo's happiness was drowned out by a sick feeling inside him. For he knew now for certain...Fergus was not coming back.

He closed his eyes and turned away towards the ship where Duck. Tachyon was too far down to catch up...and he'd gotten the one he'd wanted for now. It was over.

Before they went into the ship that would take off and vanish into space, leaving behind a desolate, empty world. , Percy stared at the insect-like being far below, his groggy mind sorting through images he'd seen in his home. Old ones his father had owned. Slowly, his arms reached out to the familiar creature that could not see him, as Leo turned away.

...

I see

Your star

You left it burning for me

Mother, I'm here...

Ratchet and Clank: Lifeforce Chapter 40

Finally...its over. This chapter contains strong violence, so caution. We get back to Ratchet in the next chapter. There will be a few more explanations, but no flashbacks including Fergus, Ickabar, or that timeline. There will be flashbacks from different stories, though...

I've had a problem with the internet, and I only got this chance to post this now. I have no idea when it'll be totally fixed, but I'll try to upload as much as possible given the circumstance.
Aaand Welcome One-Ear Everyone! Ace's most hated little rival.

Next chapter: <da:thumb id="512872562"> Ratchet and Clank: Lifeforce Chapter 41

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:icontomfromczechrepublic:
TomFromCzechRepublic Featured By Owner 1 day ago  Student Filmographer
Thanks for the awesome and well written stories on fanfic.com!
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Dracunnum Featured By Owner Jan 22, 2015  Hobbyist General Artist
Thank you for the fav ! :glomp:
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:iconsmeagolisme:
smeagolisme Featured By Owner Dec 24, 2014  Professional General Artist
MERRY CHRISTMAS, TOO! :merry christmas: Merry christmas everybody Christmas Dance Christmas La Christmas- Deerling Christmas Carol Two :xmas: 
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What-if-Writer Featured By Owner Dec 24, 2014
And to you :iconchristmastreeplz:
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smeagolisme Featured By Owner Dec 24, 2014  Professional General Artist
Thanks SO MUCH for the watch!!! ^^
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What-if-Writer Featured By Owner Dec 24, 2014
Welcome ^^
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lombaxartist Featured By Owner Nov 25, 2014  Student Digital Artist
Happy  birthday!
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:iconwhat-if-writer:
What-if-Writer Featured By Owner Nov 26, 2014
Thanks ^^
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:iconlombaxartist:
lombaxartist Featured By Owner Nov 26, 2014  Student Digital Artist
Your  very  welcome!
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DitaTheBulldog666 Featured By Owner Nov 25, 2014
HAPPY BIRTHDAY! 
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